I live in a 3 unit condo building in Newton and my unit has been damaged as a result of a fire in our neighbor’s unit. I’ve had some contractors give estimates so I know that the estimate settlement from the Association’s Insurance company won’t cover the repairs. How do I dispute the amount with the Association’s insurance? Do I need to get a condo lawyer involved?
First, based upon your question, it appears that your claim is being made under the Association’s Master Insurance Policy. I always recommend condominium unit owners, for their own protection, to buy an individual HO-6 policy covering the interior and contents of the unit because the master policy does not cover such damage. If you have an HO-6 policy, you should also consider making a claim under this policy. In addition, you may consider hiring a “public adjuster”. A public adjuster is an insurance claims adjuster who advocates for the policyholder in appraising and negotiating a claimant’s insurance claim. A public adjuster may be beneficial in this case as it is clear that the insurance company will pay the claim and the only issue is the valuation of the loss. Most public adjusters charge a percentage of the settlement which is usually on average around 10%. Another option would be to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit. In filing the lawsuit, you would use the contractor’s estimates which you have to demonstrate value. Before doing so, you should be confident that the contractor is reputable and can justify his bill because the insurance company will likely have an expert who will testify that the job can be done for much less.
The Newton Condo Lawyers at Goldman & Pease provide legal representation for condominium disputes and litigation in Newton, Massachusetts and the surrounding communities including Needham, Brookline, Dedham, Westwood, Dover, Wellesley, Weston and the entire Boston Metrowest region.